Sunday, August 29, 2010

Use of multiple cloud environments with MS BI solution without changing architecture

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In my earlier post, I said that one of the critical feature for selecting a cloud vendor for use with your existing BI solution, is to check the feasibility whether this requires an architecture change and if yes, what is the magnitude of the required change. The complexity in this case is much elevated when an enterprise has contracted with more than one cloud vendor. Actually it's a wise policy to have more than one cloud vendor and replicate your data across these cloud environments. In case your primary cloud vendor is down for some reason, you can always use your secondary cloud as a contingency server.

Here we are talking about using cloud as a file server and not as a computing server. From a design point of view, one can think of this architecture where we would be using cloud as a SAN (Storage Access Network). There are many interesting use of this design, whereby without changing the regular architecture, BI applications can take advantage of cloud. For ex., say that your ETL solution powered by SSIS requires to create huge staging at various stages of ETL processing and say this staging is in the form of some files like RAW Files, Excel files or Flat files. on various cloud environments. Or consider a scenario where a central repository of master data feed is created in the form of some files on various cloud environments which would be read by centralized or federated reporting applications. In such scenarios, client and/or server machines needs to be able to access cloud storage without a major architecture shift. For this requirement an intelligent cloud gateway is required which would select the appropriate cloud environment and also enable easy access these cloud storage environments.

One such product of this flavor is
Gladinet Cloud Desktop. This tool has very interesting features to act as a shell for various cloud environments. If you want to cloud enable your client machines or servers, this tool can act as a very intelligent gateway for managing your cloud. The USP of this tool is that it adds the required cloud storage environments as a local virtual directory on the machine of which it's installed, and the software takes care of maintaining a cache between the cloud environment and local storage. By using the APIs of this product or by programmatic control, this product can be used to manage your cloud based storage without changing the architecture design of your existing solution. Though there are great complexities involved and I do not claim that this is perfectly suited for the design in consideration, but the capabilities that this product brings to the table for managing cloud based environment is very unique and can be utilized in many scenarios.

In summary, if your BI solution involves dealing with multiple cloud environments, I feel that this product can be very effective in such scenarios. Other services provided by Gladient worth checking out are Gladinet CloudAFS and Gladinet Cloud Backup which provides live backup of SQL Server to the cloud. I do not have enough balance in my pocket to pay the bills for various cloud environments as well as this product to develop a POC. But in case if you do or your enterprise is looking out to develop a POC for any solution that involves multiple cloud environments, then this product is worth giving a shot. I would like to hear back on this from those who were able to digest this idea that I have attempted to present in this post.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Visio Services Data Authentication

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Visio Services is one of the least attended MS BI service, but is one of the most effective service in terms of presentation. Visio services in Sharepoint 2010 adds a new level of capability to Data bound visio diagrams i.e. Strategy Maps. Whenever any external service / interface has to access data, authentication is of the the most primary and necessary step.

Answers to all the probable queries related to data authentication in visio services can be found from this whitepaper. You might not feel like reading this right away and I would agree to it, but it's not a bad idea to keep this whitepaper in your repository of technical reference documents.

Image Coutesy: MSDN BOL

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to select the best cloud environment for your business intelligence solution ?

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Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Salesforce, GoGrid are some of the famous cloud providers, and Microsoft Azure is probably the newest kid on the block. Cloud is gaining popularity day by day, and businesses as well as solution providers would want to move their existing applications or base their future applications on the cloud. But there are a few factors which should be considered for evaluating different cloud providers that suit your needs. Below is a brief list of such requirements in alignment with BI / MS BI needs.

1) Platform migration without architectural changes : Applications that are already developed when needs to be migrated to cloud, change in architecture of the application due to limitations or constraints of the cloud vendor is out of question. For this requirement the cloud vendor should be providing IaaS and not just PaaS services. The reason I mentioned PaaS and not SaaS is that if one is considering to use SaaS , this would make sense for your future requirements but not for your existing applications. Amazon EC2 provides a major set of services to cater this requirement. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, Microsoft Azure is not up to the mark till date for this requirement.

2) Support for Private Cloud : There might be some very sensitive business logic in WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) services or similar other interfaces that one might not want to expose on the cloud. So the cloud vendor should also be supporting private cloud like Amazon VPC or Windows Azure Appliance Solution.

3) Software Licensing : Many cloud providers do not facilitate use of corporate licenses that enterprises would have procured, and many software vendors do not provide license for the use of product on cloud. Licensing needs to be levelled from software vendor as well as cloud vendor, so that software licenses can be easily used / reused on cloud environment.

4) PaaS Support for operations related to data : In a typical BI project, involving ETL, one can expect more than one database and different forms of staging ( in different file formats ). Cloud vendor should be supporting multiple relational DBs and storage formats required to support data storage. For example, SQL Azure and Project Houston provide a nice platform for data storage, design and operations. Windows storage provides three different kinds of storage formats. But in case if both are required to operate in the same environment, where I need to pull of data from SQL Azure and store in a file format provided by Windows Azure ( say BLOB storage ), both are not on the same platform. If your project has such dependencies, this should be taken care before considering your cloud vendor.

5) Ease of backup and restore operations : Most cloud vendor provides features that flush out any data as soon as you stop paying for the instance i.e using the instance. For permanent data, a separate dedicated storage needs to be purchased. Backing up and restoring this instance can be one big concern. Also enterprises might want portability for such instances, where one might want to create images on the cloud and use it for multiple projects or solutions. Amazon Machine Images is one such example in alignment to this requirement.

Please note that I have considered Amazon for the sake of discussion, but by no means this implies that Amazon EC2 is the best cloud vendor for your requirements. It always depends on the requirements of an enterprise, billing rates and services provided by cloud vendor in accordance with the requirements of the enterprise. The above listed factors should be evaluated at early stages before adopting the cloud environment and considering a cloud vendor.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Products for Data Warehouse management on cloud and in premises : CloudOlap and WhereScape RED

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There are two ways to create Data Warehouse, one is using the traditional development life-cycle and other is by using accelerators (i.e. products) that build on the top of data warehouse related technologies provided by vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Teradata and others. In the traditional development methodology, we start with profiling metadata & cataloguing data quality in OLTP, develop relational DW and Cube design, and corresponding ETL tasks in parallel. This process is the suitable way when you have sufficient time, resources and funds to roll out your enterprise wide DW in a phased approach, mostly when your DW is integrated into your proprietary application.

But when you need to ramp up your DW in a short period of time, and you have a limited IT Staff with the right skills, within your organization for developing your DW, one can consider investment into products like WhereScape RED. Some of the noteworthy features of this product are:

1) It provides a GUI for developing DW in a very agile manner
2) It builds ETL processes for fueling the data into DW that you build with this tool
3) It has support for a majority of standard DB / BI vendors
4) It creates automated documentation as a part of the development process
5) License of this product can be quite costly, and the way it can be compensated is by saving on the duration of time for which technical staff needs to be working on the project.

A better idea can be gained from this client story ( Coinstar ) of WhereScape, where they used it for developing their corporate data warehouse.

This product works on the top on DB and BI technologies that work in-premise. Had it been on the cloud, it would be one of the most impressive accelerators for MS BI DW development. WhereScape has been around in this market since quite a few number of years, but seems like cloud on not on their agenda till now.

One another product that provides similar kind of functionality in-premise or on the cloud ( Amazon EC2 ) is CloudOlap. Though I have not evaluated this product much deeply, this video gives a very nice overview of the functionality of this product. CloudOlap provides various power products for Microsoft and SaaS Data Warehousing, in-premises as well as on the EC2 cloud environment. If this product is what it claims to be, I would rate this product much higher compared to WhereScape RED, and the reason it that it is one of the rare products that leverages MS BI to a SaaS platform on the EC2 cloud, and it provides functionality similar to WhereScape in-premises. May be WhereScape should start thinking about it !!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Microsoft Business Intelligence ( SSIS / SSAS / SSRS ) on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud ( EC2 )

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One of the reasons, SSIS is making it's entry into most of the data warehousing eco-systems, is due to it's competitive pricing and the immense support that it has inherently got from SQL Server as a database engine. But when you are in a competitive world, you need to hit the best possible estimates that wins over others. Pricing is a very big factor, especially when your organization is acting as a service provider as well as solution provider. Difference is that as a solution provider, you develop a solution for your client, deliver it and you are done. As a service provider you are expected to host the solution and provide it as a service for the agreed duration of time within the agreed Service Level Agreements (SLA).

Windows Azure and SQL Azure are growing consistently in the cloud computing environment, but still they are not mature enough to provide an integrated environment for SaaS flavor of BI solution on Azure platform. One such cloud computing environment is provided by Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute known as Amazon EC2. IT cannot work in isolation and neither can MS BI, so it's immature to consider just Azure for cloud requirements related to MS BI.

EC2 is a huge platform and has got a lot of services and products. Below is my flavor of understanding and explanation of same, considering the services of interest in alignment to MS BI.

1) Amazon Web Service (AWS) is the medium by which Amazon provides IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) to it's clientele. Technically speaking, these services are made available in the form of a web service. All the services listed below fall under the classification of AWS. You should read this page to check out for the relational databases supported by Amazon.

2) Amazon EC2 : A web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. This can be considered a super version of Windows Azure. Consider Amazon EC2 as your processor and Amazon Elastic Block Storage as your hard drive on the cloud. Other services of interest available with EC2 are Amazon CloudWatch, Elastic-Load Balancing, and Elastic IPs.

3) Amazon SimpleDB : A web service for running queries on structured data in real time. It provides the core functionality of a database, real-time lookup and simple querying of structured data without the operational complexity. SQL Azure can be considered similar to this.

4) Amazon Simple Notification Services (SNS) : By using Amazon SNS, developers and businesses can send notifications or messages to applications or people using a “push” mechanism and have these messages delivered over protocol of choice. Probably there is no equivalent of this in Azure services stack.

5) Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) : A simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve large amounts of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. This is similar to Windows Azure Storage.

6) Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) : A secure and seamless bridge between a company’s existing IT infrastructure and the AWS cloud. Amazon VPC enables enterprises to connect their existing infrastructure to a set of isolated AWS compute resources via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection, and to extend their existing management capabilities such as security services, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems to include their AWS resources. This is an advanced / flexible version of what Windows Azure Appliance Solution is trying to provide.

The main service of our interest, if we intend to start our development or production using MS BI stack on Amazon cloud, is Amazon EC2 running Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server. Express edition and Standard edition of SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 are available. This would mean that enterprise level applications can't be executed on this environment.

If I consider a scenario where I need MS BI capabilities for a few months with a handful of developers, instead of buying servers, hardware and software licenses, it would be a cost effective way to start piloting your solution with the kind of platform and services provided by Amazon EC2. If you are thinking about the cost differences, a Standard Edition SQL Server for a Workgroup license of 5 developers would cost at least a couple thousand dollars (at least in 5 digits), and with EC2 it would not cost you even in 4 digits for a couple of months. You don't believe this ? Well, check it out using AWS Simple Monthly Calculator. As I keep telling, cloud is all over the place and if you don't find cloud, cloud would find you !!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Technical Diagram about security in Powerpivot Architecture and ecosystem

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I keep on telling this quite frequently, "A picture is worth thousand words" and the picture that I am going to share is about worth a ten thousand words. SQLCAT team has released a new technical diagram (in fact a poster sized diagram) on powerpivot for excel and sharepoint security architecture. It involves not only security edges of powerpivot, but also all the related components too.

You can download this technical diagram in different formats as listed below.

Download PowerPivot Security Architecture Technical diagram (.pdf)
Download PowerPivot Security Architecture Technical diagram (.vsd)
Download PowerPivot Security Architecture Technical diagram (.xps)

Image Courtesy:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Enterprise Master Data Management

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Master Data Management is one of the most sought after skills in Business Intelligence. Master Data Services in SQL Server 2008 R2 is a first move in this direction and to the best of my knowledge the documentation is still in a work-in-progress phase. One can find nice reference material on how to use and implement MDS, but any tool or technology is not effective unless the fundamental theory behind using the tool or technology is crystal clear to the strategist. How about a free primer on MDM by one of the industry experts - Mike Ferguson ? Read this article titled "Transitioning to Enterprise MDM" by Mike Ferguson and alleviate your BI fundamentals to a new level.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meaningful test data for SSIS , SSRS and SSAS prototype : Acquisitions by IT giants

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Often during the designing of a case study one needs meaningful data that starts right from the source, and holds meaning till the end purpose of dashboarding or trend analysis or even data mining. More the data is real, more it is presentable for demo purposes or for developing a prototype. Also the advantage is that this data does not need to be manipulated or re-defined at different phases as the data is quite meaningful right at it's evolution. One such source of data in my viewpoint is data of acquisitions by IT Giants.

If you analyze the data even yourself without using any tools, you would find many interesting points out of it. Some of the biggest IT giants are Microsoft, Google, Oracle and IBM, in general as well as from acquisition point of view. In fact this is the biggest integration exercise that provides the raw material for the manufacturing of new products.

1) Acquisitions by Microsoft : Some of the famous acquisitions include Fox Software, Hotmail, Visio Corporation, Vexcel, Proclarity, FAST Search & Transfer, DATAllegro and others. In fact in one of the recent meetings, I heard a manager trying to sell the idea of evaluating DATAllegro. Poor thing was not knowing that it's already dissolved and Parallel Data Warehouse is the new tree on it's grave.

2) Acquisitions by Google : It might come to one's surprise that many applications offered by google are direct result of acquisitions. Few of the famous ones are Picasa, Android, YouTube, FeedBurner, KeyHole Inc (founder of KML which is used in Google webservices) and others.

3) Acquisitions by Oracle : One of the biggest acquisitions by Oracle is Sun Microsystems. Sun itself was a big player in this field, few famous acquisitions include Cobalt Networks, My SQL and others. Oracle's famous acquisitions include Indian IT based banking solutions provider I-Flex, Siebel systems, Hyperion Corporation and others.

4) Acquisitions by IBM : Some of the famous acquisitions include Informix Corporation, Rational Software Corporation, Tivoli Systems, Lotus Development Corporation, Cognos and others.

If you take example of IBM, and study the acquisitions made by IBM in the past 2 years, you would find that IBM has made major of acquisitions of Data / Database services and Business Intelligence related companies, including one Cloud computing company. If you map the timings of these acquisitions with the product release timings right from history, a well tuned data mining algorithm might be able to give a hint of the time of next product release. Also this makes me wonder whether IBM DB2 is going to give birth to a new version or Tivoli needs some accessories or this is a desperate move to plunge into self-service business intelligence based on cloud computing. Keep in view that you can employ all the components of MS BI stack (right from SQL Tables till Data Mining algorithms) using this data and dig out interesting and intelligent trends out of it. And if you really do, I feel that this can be one of the best datasets to use for demonstration purposes in a prototype. Also the data is public so there are no issues of data compliance.

Some of interesting consequences of acquisitions on people like you and me can be as below.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Difference between QlikView and Powerpivot , is it Mobile Business Intelligence ?

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Qlikview is one of the fastest growing product in terms of self-service business intelligence. I felt the need to compare and technically evaluate the differences between QlikView and Powerpivot. There are two very important articles that explains the comparison between these two products. One is authored by Donald Farmer titled "QlikView from a Powerpivot standpoint" and the other is by Darren Kerfoot "Microsoft's new Powerpivot from a QlikView standpoint". Though more or less, both of these products offers similar set of services, one difference that caught my attention was Qlikview's support for mobile business intelligence.

Before you read ahead, below is an interesting comic strip from Dilbert, that I think would fit the theme.
Companies who are acting as solution providers to their end clients, often need to provide BI application and services on mobile devices, and the target users can be business leadership as well as power users. And if your product has no support for mobile business intelligence when other competitors are flaunting their demos on IPads, IPhones and Blackberrys to CEOs and CIOs, it can be a big concern to worry.

In the similar way, it might sting a little when you announce that you are not / never going to provide business intelligence delivery on mobile devices. Major providers of Business Intelligence products / solutions have already started supporting delivery of BI reporting and access of BI solutions on mobile devices, for example SAP BusinessObjects Mobile , Microstrategy 9 Mobile , IBM Cognos 8! Go Mobile. Presently in my knowledge, there is almost no significant support for mobile business intelligence in Micorsoft BI Stack. I am sure Microsoft must be having it's eyes on this growing requirements or rather I would say growing market. Accelerators like Roambi can still be used to extend the reach of SQL Server based BI solutions on mobile devices.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Microsoft Silverlight 4 and Sharepoint 2010 Integration

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Integration is one of the inevitable aspect in software development paradigm as well as in the scope of my regular work. A .NET application needs integration with OLTP, which in turn needs integration with relational data warehouse. SSAS or your cube development tool / technology needs integration with relational data warehouse, Dashboards needs integration with the Cube. Dashboards are deployed in Sharepoint and 2010 is the latest version of the same.

Now the question comes that where does Silverlight 4 fit in the picture and what does it have to do with MS BI. The answer is that Silverlight 4 does not significantly fit in the MS BI picture, but still it does graze the boundary of it. Sharepoint 2010 has got rich support of Silverlight, like Silverlight web part for example. Visio Services also uses Silverlight to show visio diagrams more interactively.

Now this is basically about a book that I have got, and I have presently the task of technically reviewing this book. I would be sharing this review very soon in a couple of days. I have gone thru the TOC, it has got 6 chapters which looks quite interesting to me. My .NET background basically helps me a lot to make sense of each and every chapter. If your job role is just of a developer and your responsibilities involves designing a report or developing a cube or writing stored procs or creating a package, this book is probably not for you. But in case if you intend to architect an end to end solution, silverlight is like garnishing and decorating the dish you are going to serve to your client. And we know that presentation is as important as is preparation, and as Sharepoint houses services like Performancepoint Services, Access Services, Excel Services, and Visio Services, I am sure that with all these dishes in the house, garnishing of Silverlight is a must in sooner or later future.

You can download a sample chapter of this book from here for free. In case if you want to know more about this book, you can check out the details of this book or buy this book, check it out here (from the packt website) where you have a greater probability of hunting some discount deals.


Below is the review of this book:

1) This book would not be much helpful for Sharepoint and Silverlight beginners, but still Silverlight beginners would be comfortable using this book.

2) Book covers most the new ehancements introduced in Sharepoint 2010, where silverlight can play a role.

3) The best use of this book, would be to use it as a cookbook for developing RIA using Silverlight 4 on the Sharepoint 2010 platform.

4) If you have been developing RIAs for quite some time and want to add the Silverlight flavor to it, this book should be the first step in my views.

5) How to use this integration between Silverlight 4 and Sharepoint 2010 at various phases of SDLC is not explained in an elaborate manner.

Overall, in terms of Silverlight 4 and Sharepoint 2010 integration, I rate this book 6 / 10.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sharepoint 2010 with limited features on the cloud without BI support = Sharepoint 2010 Online

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Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) is a collection of products that are available on the cloud. These products are Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online, Office Livemeeting and Office Communications Online. These products / services are available in Standard and Dedicated edition. Standard version is a shared services platform and Dedicated edition provides an isolated and dedicated server space in the cloud. Microsoft has made office web apps available for free usage on sky drive, and during the later part of this year, office web apps is also expected to be available on the cloud. This is a complete SaaS offering from Microsoft.

Being a MS BI professional, my interest goes specially in Sharepoint online. Presently it's based on Sharepoint 2007 platform, so it can be easily interpreted that it won't have features like Access Services and Performancepoint Services. During the later half of this year, Sharepoint online is going to be upgraded on Sharepoint 2010 platform. This immediately raises a curiosity in my mind, whether Performancepoint Services and Access Services would be made available in this version. Microsoft has though not officially confirmed anything (to the best of my knowledge), but several Microsoft as well as unofficial sources have confirmed that performancepoint services is definitely not going to be a part of Sharepoint 2010 online. This means an end to the scope of dashboard development and hosting on the cloud.

Access Services may or may not be made available on Sharepoint 2010 online. One interesting feature of Access Services is Web databases. If Access services and effectively creation of web databases on the cloud is made available in sharepoint 2010 online, this can be seen as one of the competition / alternative to SQL Azure. My mind raises a question that when I have capabilities of sharepoint 2010 (though limited) available in the cloud, with web databases facilitated through access services, how many chances are there that I would opt Windows Azure storage and SQL Azure against Sharepoint 2010 online ? In fact, news are that Sharepoint 2010 online might be made available on Azure platform.

In short, Sharepoint 2010 online diminishes the hope and scope of BI by eliminating performancepoint services. Those who are curious to learn more about Sharepoint online can download Microsoft Sharepoint Online Standard Developer Guide. Though it's quite old and there can be changes in the present offerings, but still it would provide a deep insight into Sharepoint Online features.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Data Warehouse as a Service (DaaS) in MS BI Stack

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Fast track data warehouse architecture and parallel data warehouse are two entirely different kinds of solutions but targeting a common domain of data warehousing. As SaaS solution is not available in MS BI Stack, similarly DaaS solution is also not available in MS BI Stack. If these kind of solutions are made available on private cloud solutions like Windows Azure Appliance Solution, a DaaS kind of offering can be made available on Microsoft platform. I am not sure if this would be of interest to Microsoft, but in my views, this is definitely of interest to solution provider kind of organizations. I feel that combining Azure and MS BI Stack, Microsoft has all the raw material that is required to develop SaaS or DaaS solutions, but the integration part is missing.

One of the leaders in DaaS solution is Kognitio. Enterprises are looking for on-demand services, and Azure can be seen as the first step in this direction. And whether it's for self-service business intelligence or data warehousing, there is a huge market for each of these solutions and microsoft is eagerly awaited to make entry into these (SaaS and/or DaaS) markets. Integrating MS BI on cloud would not be simple, and again making the same available in the form of service would change the existing MS BI markets. Not only that, solution providers would also have to adapt to this change, and look at a completely Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) solution proposition.

Below is an excerpt from Kognitio DaaS page, to which I fully agree.
  • DaaS solves several issues that are common within the data analytics industry. Most notably, the inability to prove business value from data warehousing and analytics projects before spending large capital sums of money.

  • DaaS allows you to run your large-scale data analytics projects (marketing campaigns, business reporting etc) and you simply pay on a pay-per-use basis. There is no overhead of implementing a data warehouse onsite, there is no need for your IT department to service, maintain and support the database and its users.

More about Kognitio and the services offered by this company can be read from here.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Spatial Data Resources

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Spatial data is one of the valued enhancements since SQL Server 2008. SSMS has also been enhanced to support viewing of spatial data. But still there are limitations on how you create spatial data, and generating Well Known Text (WKT) is something that can be done only visually. Visual tools are needed, using which one can draw shapes or plot points / shapes on locations and the WKT should get generated. For viewing WKT one can also use the spatial results tab in SSMS.

Two of the most useful resources for generating WKT by visually generating or pointing shapes for spatial or geospatial data are Mike Ormond's SQL Server 2008 Geospatial Data Generator and the newly released Spatial Viewer utility on codeplex by Simon Sabin. This spatial viewer is a C# application that is intended to create WKT out of the drawn shapes and vice-versa too. I have not tried this application, but this is definitely a valued utility. If this can be made to integrate in SSMS, it would serve as one of the most valued application as of now for spatial data support in SSMS.

Spatial Viewer Utility

Image Courtesy: Simon Sabin's Blog

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What is Business Intelligence ( or Microsoft Business Intelligence ) and are you a BI professional ?

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Database professionals many a times feel the dilemma in the classification of the work they do. I even find many professionals literally bragging that they are BI professionals and they would want to work only in BI and nothing else. Many a times as an interviewer when I check the candidate's profile, it seems that the candidate has developed a couple of SSIS packages for import-export kind of requirements, and so he has the medal on his chest of being a BI professional. I would think that SSIS is still somewhat elegant, some even argue that they have been developing SSRS reports since a while and so they are BI professionals. That sounds like a more interesting argument, doesn't it ? Some even say that they don't know T-SQL development and they work exclusively in SSIS. I think this is the biggest blunder statement that I have ever heard in SSIS business.

Below are a few questions that my mind raises when one claims of being a BI professional.

1) Are you aware of Data Warehousing concepts ?

2) Working with SSIS / SSRS makes or running a wizard to create a Cube makes you a BI professional or is there more weight in your justification ?

3) Are you aware of ETL strategy, design and development concepts ?

4) How many data warehousing or analytics projects have you executed in your career ?

5) How many dashboards have you designed to facilitate decision support as a part of any business solution ?

6) What tangible / measurable value did your BI solution bring to the business, and what was your contribution in the solution development and design ?

7) What you have been doing with SSIS, is that something that can't be done using T-SQL, provided I take out the factors of automation and ease of maintenance ?

8) How many competitive BI tools and technologies are you aware of and how many of them have you technically evaluated ?

9) Have you used SSIS just in data migration projects or you have used SSIS to populate a data warehouse and process cubes ?

10) How good are you are gathering requirements, analyze data at hand and able to foresee a way to extract patterns or intelligence out of it ?

If after the above questions, your answer still stands to "I work in SSIS / SSRS / SSAS so I am a Business Intelligence professional", I would say "All that glitters is not gold, and all who work on SSIS / SSRS / SSAS are not BI professionals". Thoughts are welcome !!
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